In this concept I'm talking about a crying baby. When a baby cries the loud noise is a problem. You could solve the problem of the noise by covering your ears so you don't hear it. No more noise problem solved. But this would be treating the symptom problem and not the cause problem. The other way to remove the symptom problem (the crying) is to stop and ask the baby why it is crying. The baby is probably not going to answer to you will have to do an investigation. You will have to think. You will defiantly have to spend more time and energy than just covering your ears. But if you care about the baby you will ask yourself does the baby need food or changed or to be held? You have to go through and start to meet all these needs and how will you know when you've found the right one, No more crying. The cause problem (let say hunger) is solved so the symptom problem (the noise) is no longer necessary.
This seems simple enough but what do we do when we have a headache. We take a an pain reliever. but the head ache is a symptom. The pain reliever is the just like covering your ears to the baby. It is a symptom. Instead we need to ask ourselves about the cause of the headache. Am I dehydrated, or mineral deficient? Have I been staring at a computer screen too long? There could be any number of causes but you have to care enough about your head to do the work to fix the cause and the symptom goes away. I am repeating this concept because I see in my own past and in the lives of others around me symptom treating. Here is another example but this time I'll use an action instead of a physical thing. Lying is a symptom of unappealing truth. If the truth was better the lie is unnecessary.
*This idea applys most to health as people often correlate symptoms with the illness itself. One came from the other so it is subject to the other. Remove the illness and the symptoms will go away. This is a tough thing as correlations are often correct but I tell people most wounds have band aids on them so if we outlaw bandages we'll get rid of wounds? of course not but it is difficult to search deep enough to find out what issue is subject to the other. In my life I have had different people go away and realized after the fact how negative or exhausting they were to deal with and didn't know at the time. Some people bring out the best in us and others make things difficult. it's difficult to know if the person is the problem or the situation that you are in with the person.
My big take away for the day is to step back and try to take my time to figure out what is the wound and what is the bandage.
This concept really unfolded for me when I was listening to my wife describe a person with a speech problem. She explained that when people are about one or two it is the best time to learn new languages. As we get older we start to hold on to the language that we use and it becomes increasingly difficult for us to learn new languages. Our hearing becomes so in tune with what we know we don't even hear what we don't know. So the person with the speech problem actually had a hearing problem. His brain had never learned certain sounds so of course he can't replicate a sound he can't hear, hence the speech problem.
This is the same problem we have in other parts of our lives. We are so in tune with what we have learned that we stopped being able to even hear what we haven't. So those who have ears let them hear. The idea is that not everyone does. Some people have an ear for music and others don't the sounds are the same it is the listener that changes.
If you want change in your life you will have to work hard to unlearn what you think you know so that you can then replace it with what you don't. This starts with listening. So listen close. A free person starts as a listening slave.
*This is interesting to me for a few reasons. One because it mentions my wife and I haven't been married for some time and two because unlike some of the other ideas in this writing this one I had forgotten about. I have gotten very interested in neuro plasticity since the time this was written. I am always trying to find out what I can change in myself and what is a permeant fixture. For some time I was amazed at how much can change but that has brought me back to the things that I have to accept and knowing the difference. Brains change over time so I have tried to build a more long term plan for myself. Fr a long time I had a short term, survival mentality and when you are in that mode there is no margin to plan long term. I thought that either I would die or the world would end and we would all die. Now I have made it through so much I tend to watch the thoughts of doom come and go. I still have a sense of anxiety in my day to day life that is far too constant but I have learned to sit with it. I remind myself that everyone who has thought the world would end has been wrong. Or at least the entire world. People who bet on nature overcoming tend to win. With 5G coming and that being my biggest concern (it seems no one worried about global warming doesn't know anything about 5G) but I trust that a solution will follow the problem.
I have to start to listen for the things my brain hasn't been programed to hear in order to take things to the next level. We'll see.
Grieving Process -
Denial — "I feel fine."; "This can't be happening, not to me."
Denial is usually only a temporary defense for the individual. This feeling is generally replaced with heightened awareness of situations and individuals that will be left behind after death.
Anger — "Why me? It's not fair!"; "How can this happen to me?"; "Who is to blame?"
Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy. Any individual that symbolizes life or energy is subject to projected resentment and jealousy.
Bargaining — "Just let me live to see my children graduate."; "I'll do anything for a few more years."; "I will give my life savings if..."
The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow postpone or delay death. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. Psychologically, the hi is saying, "I understand I will die, but if I could just have more time..."
Depression — "I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "I'm going to die . . . What's the point?"; "I miss my loved one, why go on?"
During the fourth stage, the dying person begins to understand the certainty of death. Because of this, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time crying and grieving. This process allows the dying person to disconnect oneself from things of love and affection. It is not recommended to attempt to cheer up an individual who is in this stage. It is an important time for grieving that must be processed.
Acceptance — "It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it."
This final stage comes with peace and understanding of the death that is approaching. Generally, the person in the fifth stage will want to be left alone. Additionally, feelings and physical pain may be non-existent. This stage has also been described as the end of the dying struggle.[
Kübler-Ross originally applied these stages to people suffering from terminal illness, and later to any form of catastrophic personal loss (job, income, freedom). This may also include significant life events such as the death of a loved one, divorce, drug addiction, an infertility diagnosis. Kübler-Ross claimed these steps do not necessarily come in the order noted above, nor are all steps experienced by all patients, though she stated a person will always experience at least two. Often, people will experience several stages in a "roller coaster" effect - switching between two or more stages, returning to one or more several times before working through it.
Significantly, people experiencing the stages should not force the process. The grief process is highly personal and should not be rushed, nor lengthened, on the basis of an individual's imposed time frame or opinion. One should merely be aware that the stages will be worked through and the ultimate stage of "Acceptance" will be reached.
*I used to spend a lot of time thinking about this. Where are you in this process? Where am I? Once your in acceptance the issues just fall off. Like when you are sick you feel terrible but once your well you don't feel amazing you kind of feel right. Depending on the issue I can think that i am in each phase of the grieving process all at the same time.
Some things we hold on to so that they won't float away. Now I know that this just keeps going and I am grateful for the things I've work through but also know why I held on to them. We keep the lows to hold onto the highs. eventually we get board with the roller coaster and get off of coarse then we get board not being on the roller coaster. Before you ever get off the roller coaster you think...maybe this will last forever, innocence. Then as time goes on you learn that it won't.
Now I spend a lot of time thinking about an equal trade innocence for wisdom. I find my self a bit low on innocence to trade these days. I no longer think I can improve things I can just change them. The change then becomes the indirect improvement. The universe only has one problem and that is boredom. All the things we think are good or bad or important or worthless are all just solutions for this boredom problem.
There are some big concepts in here that I could write about for a long time. dualism painted on time and the core universal problem being boredom. Don't believe me about the boredom problem it's how we imagine death. No wonder we fill the void of nothingness with heaven and hell because both are more appealing to us than conscious eternal boredom. Both have an opposite. If you don't know about heaven in hell than it stops being hell and vice versa. the contrast is the only thing that makes it bad. Nothingness is our ultimate fear.
The future is uncontrollable, we make expectations based on our past experiences and core beliefs along with our current situation. We expect to be able to use substances/ food/ dishonesty and any number of other negative concepts in the future if it has worked as a coping mechanism in the past.
Every time our expectations don’t match up with reality no matter how big or small they are we have the potential to have a very negative reaction. We grieve our unmet expectations. The person that we expect to be exists in our minds and when we end up not being the person that we expected the future self that existed in our mind dies and we have to grieve him.
If you wake up in the morning and put on a shirt you expect that you will end the day in that shirt. You make a cup of coffee and accidentally spill it on your shirt. At this moment the end the day in that shirt expectation dies and you enter into the grieving process you may move to anger or depression. You can then have this incident ruin your whole day or week or however long it takes you to get to a point of acceptance. At this point you realize you have no control over a past event so you move on. You no longer stuck in anger or depression or any other part of the grieving cycle. The danger is when your expectations are not met over and over again you may start to expect bad things to happen to you. Then you are trapped because either bad things happen and your prepared for them because you are expecting them so no grief or good things happen but you are so focused on the bad that a good thing would be outside of your expectations and you would actually grieve your unmet negative expectations.
People that struggle with anger or depression and remain there for a significant amount of time are trapped in the grieving cycle. There is only one way out of the grieving cycle and that is through the door of acceptance. You can't escape it any other way. Guess what other ways people try to get out through, their struggles. But when they choose the struggle they expect to get out of the grieving process. Struggle doesn't take them out but further in. This leaves them with a new dead expectations and still trapped in grief but now they are pulling around a big heavy bag of struggle, and that is a big burden.
*I used to think about the grieving cycle a lot. Mostly because I was in it. I think the older we get time forces us out of our expectations. When I wrote this I thought that I was supposed to be further along, making more money and being more successful. Now I see the cost of all of it and I can't go back. Now I know how much work the ideas I had are and how small the real pay off is. I let other people put pressure on me to have and do more. Now that my life is my own I can embrace the simplicity of it all.
We are what we say we are. You define you or you let others define you but either way you are defined. That means that at some point in struggle a person starts to identify himself as a person who struggles and what do people who struggle do they struggle. If someone lies to you and you say " you are such a liar" they will probably start to identify themselves as a liar and what do lies do...they lie. A better response is this. When someone lies to you say you are an honest person why would you choose to lie. This shows the person that they are acting in conflict with their identity and they have chosen to lie and therefore could have chosen not to.
This applies even more to how we choose to define ourselves. We may say to our self you are so stupid, self. You are then defining yourself as stupid and stupid people make bad decisions. Start to realize that the first step in changing from one type of person to another is the choice to change the identity, the choice to change your name from struggler to victor from stupid to wise.
It is very difficult to change but it is so much easier once you have changed to remain changed. By saying that you are something different you can then start to become something different. Now notice that I said the first step in change not the only step. If you stop that this first step you will be smack in the middle of denial. This concept like every concept can be twisted. That is only done by the person that does not want to change. These people will not find freedom. The freedom and power that come with change are only found by people who look for them. Finding involves seeking. If you are reading this you are seeking. Welcome to the club, the seekers who find club.
* It is very interesting for me to look back and see how different I am from when this was written and at the same time how much has remained the same. I have changed so much but I have submitted to many things that I realize make me me. This is a tricky game, to figure out what to burn down and what to build up. At some undeterminable point a person ceases to be them self. I immediately think people with severe Alzheimer's. The family that is no longer recognized that the person isn't there but clearly some parts of them are.
All lines are arbitrary. When are we human? When are we alive? When are we dead? All these questions depend. If a line is drawn then it can be picked apart and criticized, why not a little more, why not a little less. I didn't mean to go this direction but arbitrary lines are something I think about a lot. They are silly but at the same time we can't start playing the life game until the lines are drawn.
When I am changing at what point do I stop being the person I once was? Thinking about brains, about amnesia, about mental illness and addiction, about how we can never really be known, about how strange life is and how the only way I can make sense of any of it is to think about fractals, infinite cyclical variation and repetition. How strange to be alive.
Some people realize they have a problem and then try to control the thing they are struggling with. Most of the time this control comes from a love for the that causes the struggle. I have struggled with alcohol personally so I'll use it as my example. An alcoholic may get into this frustrating pattern of thought. I need to keep drinking. I need money to buy alcohol to keep drinking. I need a job to get money to keep drinking. That is the thinking but this is what happens. The person likes to drink. They go to work. They get paid so now they can buy alcohol. They drink the alcohol which makes it harder to go to work. Which makes it harder to get paid. Which makes it harder to get alcohol. So the pattern goes on. This is when the person realizes they need control. They have to limit the alcohol in order to have the alcohol. This is a difficult concept. I want to have alcohol and drink it too.
When control fails the alcoholic begins to get creative. Working to get money to drink makes it hard to drink so are there other alternatives. Can I lose my job and collect unemployment? Can I get on disability? Can I steal money? Can I get a job at a bar so that I can get paid in alcohol? Can I find a way to make allot of money at one time? Can I find an enabler to provide for me?
Another way that the person may try to control the struggle in order to hold onto it is to let it go for a time. The thinking here is that if I can quit for a week or a month than I will be able to prove to myself and others that I'm not a entrapment to it. This is usually a goal that the addict tells no one about so that when an excuse comes up there is no shame or failure socially, only personally. To make this control easier the person may try switching struggles for a time. While the person is taking a break from the preferred struggle.
Some people can maintain a functional struggle position for a long time even years. They are able to hide the truth and spike back and forth from diet to binge, from a little to allot. The person that is able to function with struggle often has a harder time getting free. They don't hit rock bottom for so long and as time passes the chance of them changing goes down. These people desperately need someone to help them come to a place of honesty. The person still lacks all the positive characteristics that are found in freedom.
The path of struggle can take a long time or things can fall apart all at once. The important thing to know is that only the person can decide when they are tired of being trapped. Only the sick can decide when to treat the disease.
*This seems so far away. Having not had a drink in so long it's tough for me to remember the desperation the focus on it. The real creativity it takes to be a functional addict. I have always been a strategist. Only after I quit drinking did things fall apart for me. When I was drinking I was buying and selling houses, I was married, I wasn't healthy but didn't have any major health issues. Only after did I loose the houses, the wife and got very sick. I think I always knew that if I stopped juggling plates they would crash to the floor and they did. The addiction was the only thing that kept them all in the air but the debts I wracked up as a drinker had to be paid sooner or later. No forgiveness when karma has built up. I'm glad that I have paid off that karma and now I'm free of it. - side note- this is wehy I have an issue with anything focused on forgiveness where the debt is paid for us, I learned that I needed to pay my own debt the best I could to forgive myself but that is probably an different post.
I do realize that removing addiction from my mind has made me very harsh on people who won't change. This makes sense since I can never give myself a break it's hard to give others a break. At the same time the issues that others have they don't view as addictions just things they love that aren't good for them. maybe its sugar maybe it self deprecating statements to avoid the reality of the need to change. For me the only thing that really gives me these thoughts is coffee as I love it and I know it makes me anxious and that I shouldn't drink it. Trying to learn moderation with it. Since the all or nothing mentality has made moderation difficult for my mind I have to factor it in to cycles like only one cup a week on a day off. I realize that I had to learn extreme nothing before moderation so that I wouldn't apply moderation to alcohol and even now it's tough for me to think about. if I can master moderation could I apply it to alcohol? I answer that question by telling myself if i ever want one beer I'll have one but I never wanted one. I'll put the question off and spend the next ten years learning moderation through cycles. better to toy with coffee than anything that is really destructive. Of coarse all this stuff applies to thoughts and not just behaviors, depression, anger, sadness, loneliness, shame all sorts of non tangible destructive ideas that we are addicted to.
Many people make the mistake of only looking at the physical world and thinking that where ever they are or whoever they are at this moment is the truth about them. Where I am at this moment is my reality. But the truth and reality can be different things, they can also be the same. I'll explain. Clark Kent works for a newspaper, wears glasses and has a hard time with the ladies. This is his reality. But what others don't know is the truth about Clark. The truth is that he is an alien and can fly and shoot lasers out of his eyes. Now there was a time that Clark didn't know the truth about himself he got hints that he was different and as he experimented he discovered the truth. His belief moved from the idea that he was a normal guy to the belief that he was a super hero. He didn't change, he always had the ability but his belief changed and as his belief changed so did his reality. It soon lined up with the truth. He is superman. These superpowers are awesome but they also mean that he will never really fit in with all the people who don't have superpowers.
I have news for you, you have superpowers. Powers that can allow you true freedom. You won't be controlled by any substance, action or situation you can remove shame and fear from your life. You can do what you want when you want. In your current reality you are weak but that is not the truth. Start to believe in the truth and your reality will start to move toward it. The truth is that the things you think you can't give up are totally unnecessary. You can do what you want when you want, it is your wants that will start to change.
Many people make the mistake of fighting with their struggles. If you fight with something it becomes your target, you start to focus on it. Victory over struggle is letting go. Realizing the struggle is unnecessary. Balancing the parts of yourself so that the symptoms of struggle go away. Realizing this will help you see that you are only playing a part. A part that can change at any moment. It will change the instant that you realize it can. As soon as you realize you can change you already have.
*When I wrote this to myself I was really trying to convince myself that I didn't have to struggle with the things I was. I was pumping myself up like pep talk. Back then I was in a situation that was very tough for me and I wasn't happy. I knew that I didn't want to go back to the behaviors and thinking that had done so much damage to me but wasn't sure I would be able to become the person I wanted to be. The things I struggled with back then I don't think about much anymore as I have built my life around health. I'm also painfully aware that short term pleasures often lead to long term pain. I'd like to think now that I'm a little bit of a Clark Kent as no one in my life now really knows the dark places where I came from. Those places are more concepts than behaviors. When I look back at the depression, self pity, sadness and all the rest. I know I',m still teaching myself self respect and self discipline but I feel like I'm making the progress I hoped for back then.
Some more universal truths are - you can't start and stop at the same time, the real concept is you can't do two things that are in total opposition to each other at the same time. This sounds simple but we try to all the time. This is the have your cake and eat it too concept. You can't quit something and still do it. You can't move forward and move back at the same time. The wisdom is seeing this and realizing that if we are moving backward the only way to move forward is to change directions. In my own life and in speaking with others it is amazing how much of the time I have to say. We don't change by doing things the same. This is key. If we are doing things the same we can't get a different result. How do we quit anything by changing things. If we choose not to do things different we choose not to change.
*How many times have I tried to get a different result from the same attempt? So many.
Back when I wrote this I didn't know much about brains or neuroplasticity. Now I tend to think about the brain first. The brain wants to do what it has always done because you have pathways that are formed. I will write about this in it's own post at some point but it is so important to remember all brains are choose function over truth. What this means is that if you have functional beliefs the brain will hold onto them even if they aren't true. maybe it the idea that a cheating partner still loves you or holding on to some belief you were raised with that is the furthest thing from factual but gives you comfort. Could be anything and this applies to everyone so just telling someone they are wrong and then telling them the truth won't change their mind but if you put them in a culture that supports the new idea the social functionality of the situation seems to slowly shift. The brain changes slowly a little bit at a time. If you want to do anything new inch your way into it over time and it will shave a much better chance of sticking.
About the writing above I would say keep trying new things. It's hard, It's hard for me. List out the things you don't want to give up, that what you need to give up. List out the things you don't want to do, that's what you need to do to grow. I don't mean anything extreme but for me I didn't want to do group activities and now yoga and cross fit have both become things I really enjoy and am so glad I tried. Find your growth opportunity and take it slowly and consistently.
* Read the note for context and then enjoy
There are different forms of truth or maybe better explained is different levels of truth. There are situational truths. These are things that are true in a certain circumstance. Green means go is a situational truth in a physical traffic situation this is a true statement but there is no concept behind it and it doesn't apply to anything besides that situation. There are universal truths, these truths are concepts. Concepts that work and apply in the physical world but also our relational, emotional mental and spiritual selves. I'll give you some examples.
-you reap what you so (also meaning cause and effect or karma)
-the only way to get to a solution is through a problem
In the first example this can apply to you physically, in planting seeds. Relationally in that how much you but into a relationship is directly proportionate to what you get out of it and so on. How much effort you put into quitting something is directly connected to how much success you will have in quitting. This concept deals with our personal responsibility to take ownership of our lives.
In the second example we talk about lifts difficulties and problems. We can decide how to view them (it doesn't matter whether it is a spiritual problem or physical problem ect.) if we recognize that no victory, success or satisfaction has ever taken place without first having a problem we can start to choose to view all problems as opportunities. Struggle is such a difficult problem that if you choose to overcome it, it will give you a true sense of victory in your life. Allowing you to have huge rewards not possible without the problem of struggle to begin with.
Once we start to believe in universal truths we don't have to think so hard when making decisions. The universal truths work all the time and we don't have to look so hard at our situation. These universal truths give us wisdom where situational truth as good as it is can be only make us smart. This is why you can have brilliant people that are very successful in a situation but a total failure in other parts of their life. The business man that knows he only makes money if he works hard and makes sacrifices but has a failed marriage and problems with his children. He understood the reap what you so concept in the situation of making money and didn't apply it universally to his family relationships.
*This is a good thing for me to remember. I'm counting on the good choices and patience I'm using now pay off for me. I've been doing my healthy routines long enough to see the benefits.
* If you haven't read the Note for Context above please do and then enjoy some thoughts
Many people get overwhelmed when they realize that in order to concur struggle they have to change every part of themselves. It is important people hear the hard truth about struggle early on so that they can truly prepare for what is to come. Too often we think that we just have to change the thing that we are struggling with. Every part effects another so change brings change. I find it is better to be real and not minimize the situation. Most people do not have total victory in their lives but they could. Change is chosen. Don't be overwhelmed life is a process and so is the process of removing struggle from our lives entirely. Total removal can be the end goal with small goals along the way. If a person is trying to bench press 300 pounds they must first bench 100. If a person that can't bench 100 goes to the gym everyday for a year and tries to bench 300 they will probably make no progress but the person that recognizes the process will go lift 100 and then 200 and work up to 300. First work on your biggest struggle then move on to the things that you have started to do more of since your biggest struggle is gone. In time you will be able to have control over physical struggles and you can start working on concepts, quitting fear or sadness.
* I understand the importance of having a big goal and a long term plan to attain it that is made up of small, reachable incremental changes done consistently over time that become slightly more difficult as they are accomplished.
There is a an equation for change. The best way to look like you want to change when you really don't is to set the goal too high in too short a period of time.I wish I had started implementing this a long time ago but better late than never.
Big long term goals are made of small short term goals
I was an Alcoholic
This blog contains many of the ideas that helped me to get sober and stay sober.
Everything in Italics is me now, commenting on the writing from 10 years ago. Everything not in Italics is the 8 year old writing. In some ways I am the same but in others very different that is what make it interesting.
This website does not provide medical advice.
The information, including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified Health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.